Bart Starr and the legacy of kindness

Legacy planning can be very complicated and that’s why we’re here. We’ll walk you through beneficiary designations, trusts, wills and marital agreements, and we’ll work with an estate attorney to help you develop the appropriate paperwork. But, there’s another kind of estate we believe is even more important, one built not from your coins but from your character. It’s really easy to leave a lasting legacy of kindness. Nearly 60 years ago, Packer quarterback Bart Starr popped in to visit a seriously ill little boy. The visit cheered then 10-year old Terry Winch up and continues to inspire him today. “It was so memorable that, even today, when I meet someone new within an hour or two I’m telling that story,” he said. Back in 1960, Winch suffered a dangerous bout of rheumatic fever that attacked his heart. Initially treated by a local doctor, he later spent three months at Marshfield Hospital and several more months recuperating at home in a hospital bed set up in his parent’s bedroom. “One day I heard a car door slam and I looked out and saw my mom’s boss, Dr. Langdon, walking toward our breezeway, which was not unusual,” Winch said. “But then I heard a second car door slam and I saw Bart Starr coming in with him. As you can imagine, it was overwhelming. The Packers were a force to be dealt with and here he was, standing right next to my bed! So, I’m just not believing what I’m seeing…How amazing that was for a 10-year old kid – that Bart Starr came to his house.” During Winch’s long recovery, he also enjoyed the positive influence of his older brother, Dr. Tim Winch. For a long time Terry wasn’t able to move far from his bed, but he was able to make it to the living room and that’s where Tim taught him how to play piano. Those lessons led… | Read More »

A grand slam in legacy planning

Frederik B. Wilcox left a multi-layered legacy when he died in 1965. A champion of both risk and prudence, he famously wrote, “Progress always involves risk. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” Thanks to those oft-quoted words, Wilcox will be remembered for his wit, and, based on his financial wisdom, he’ll also be remembered for his will. Two years ago, a bequest by Wilcox granted the largest unrestricted gift to the Rhode Island Foundation in its 100-year-history. An investment banker who forged his way from humble beginnings, Wilcox left a trust of about $1 million, to be overseen by his daughter, Nancy W. Mattis. He specified that 60 percent of whatever it had grown to at the time of her own passing would be given to the Rhode Island Foundation. Due to her careful stewardship, the trust grew to $48 million by the time she died in 2016 at age 95. Based on his foresight and her care, the foundation received $28 million in unrestricted funds, a grand slam for the smallest state in the union and a testament to the lasting power of estate planning. The Wilcox plan worked beautifully for several reasons. First, he set up his legacy plan carefully and designated beneficiaries based on his own passions and beliefs. Then, he chose a capable (turns out gifted) trustee to manage the account. Lastly, he vetted his beneficiary carefully and understood that the Rhode Island Foundation would be solvent and prepared to handle his generous bequest a half century after he made it. Mr. Wilcox began his life impoverished, but he’ll be remembered for generations thanks to astute estate planning. At Winch Financial, we don’t just recognize exceptional legacies, we help build them.  If you or anyone you know has any questions regarding estate planning, please contact us. We’re always glad to help.

Seven lessons from three legendary quarterbacks

  Among our prized memorabilia here at Winch Financial is a football helmet signed by three of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game. Best of all, they’re all Packers. Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers share a historic legacy and an astounding seven NFL titles so far. In honor of those titles, here are seven lessons you can learn from these storied players as you build your own legacy. Find your passion. Nobody gets to the NFL without passion for the game. These players fought through injuries and battled some of the bitterest cold in league history. It’s tough to play in a -46 wind chill with nothing but old school cleats on your feet if you don’t have a passion for the game. Bart did it, though, in the famous Ice Bowl and Brett quarterbacked the Packers in the second coldest game in franchise history, the 2008 NFC championship game. Passion for the task at hand helps in the face of whatever adversity you might encounter in your own life. Be a team player. Though they have diverse personalities, all three quarterbacks have earned the lifelong respect of their teammates. Elite quarterbacks are students of the game. For every minute you see them on the field, they’ve spent hours studying playbooks and reviewing game film. Planning makes the execution seem effortless. Allow yourself to recover from your mistakes. These three players are among the all-time best, but all three have thrown their share of interceptions, missed open receivers and fumbled the ball on key plays. As Coach Lombardi himself said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” Don’t be afraid to take a risk, learn from your mistakes, and keep moving forward. Don’t be threatened by anyone else’s success. Favre offered to wait as long as necessary to share the field with Bart Starr. He didn’t have to do that. One… | Read More »

To Kill a Legacy

Harper Lee’s most poignant story may be one she never penned. The dramatic release of her second novel, Go Set a Watchman, reads like creative non-fiction and begs a few possibly eternal questions: Did Lee really agree to publish it? Is the book, written before her Pulitzer Prize winning To Kill a Mockingbird, a sequel or a first draft? Is Lee’s silence by choice or circumstance? The controversy brings to mind the most famous of To Kill a Mockingbird’s oft cited quotes, “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” It’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird’s legacy as well, and therein lies the debate. Until her death at age 103 last November, Alice Lee, once Alabama’s oldest practicing attorney, worked tirelessly to protect her younger sister, Nelle Harper Lee, who maintained a half-century vow to avoid the public (and especially the media’s) eye. So, it is interesting that, just three months after Alice’s death, the attorney who succeeded her discovered an unpublished Harper Lee manuscript in a safe deposit box. That lawyer, Tonja Carter, wrote an op-ed piece describing her recollection of the events leading up to Tuesdays’ release of Go Set a Watchman that only raised more questions. Did Harper Lee, a stroke victim described as both deaf and blind, say, as Carter asserted in 2011 in regards to a different book, a biography of the Lee sisters “Rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood”? Or, is this a more accurate description of Harper Lee’s state of mind, written by Alice, also in 2011: “Poor Nelle Harper can’t see and can’t hear and will sign anything put before her by anyone… | Read More »

How to focus less on money and more on living a rich life

Snapple Fact #945 caught my eye during a recent Spring Break family road trip: The Inca built the largest and wealthiest empire in South America, but had no concept of money. I find this aspect of the Inca Empire both fascinating and admirable. At Winch Financial, though we work as money managers, our definition of wealth has always transcended the accumulation of finances. We encourage our clients to build a rich life through careful tending of their relationships, joyful accumulation of memories, generous sharing, community involvement, and healthy lifestyle choices. To maintain that rich life, and to extend it through generations, of course we advocate a well thought-out financial plan that is adjusted frequently to match retirement goals, risk tolerances and time lines. We’re also strong proponents of tactical investment management to protect and grow the assets you’ve earned. But we know that a fulfilling life involves so much more than money.  We encourage our clients to nurture their spiritual, creative, physical and intellectual lives as well. Want to feel rich? Take a grandchild to lunch. Volunteer at a shelter. Plan an outing. Call an old friend. Take a walk on a sunny afternoon. Say a prayer. The Incas built an empire that lasted more than a thousand years without any monetary or bartering system at all. It might be time for us to think about making money less a focus in our lives too.